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Monday, March 19, 2012

When the Welsh Government speaks

Although I am supporting the fight by Remploy workers to keep their factories open, one really does have to wonder about the point made by Matt Withers in this column regarding the third sector:

After the UK Government announced it was to close seven of the nine Remploy factories in Wales, which employ disabled workers, naturally the media turned to Disability Wales, the country’s biggest charity in the area, to give its side.

And yet, rather than lay into the UK Government as the Welsh Government had done, Disability Wales was more circumspect. Rhian Davies, chief executive of Disability Wales, went across TV and radio to say she supported an integrated society and said that Remploy factories were set up in a different era – precisely the UK Government’s line.

That was then. Yet this week, curiously and apropos of nothing, an e-mail dropped into journalists’ in-boxes which sought to clarify the charity’s view.

This was more critical. “For disabled people directly affected by this decision their planned closure is a devastating blow,”Ms Davies now said.

“Disabled workers employed by Remploy should be fully supported and found alternative jobs before shutting down any of the Remploy factories”.

Curious. A quick look at their website then showed that Disability Wales receives funding from the Welsh Government.

Later that day I asked Education Minister Leighton Andrews whether the Welsh Government had been unhappy with the charity’s earlier stance.

“I think it would it would be unwise for any disability organisation to allow itself to be used as an excuse for the policy the UK Government has followed,” he answered diplomatically.

So by the end of the week the question of where the so-called “third sector” lies, and where it deviates from government, is even muddier. The evidence would appear to show – sometimes it doesn’t.

I'm glad that someone is raising the independence of some of these 'Welsh' charities that only exist with WAG funding.

Unfortunately, the Welsh Government seems to have cottened on to this long ago, and is always very keen to engage with the organisations it funds.

How many of the organisations attending events such as this one http://wales.gov.uk/newsroom/educationandskills/2012/120319welfarereforms/?lang=en are in the Government purse?
Ms davies is looking who holds power and being cautious about her remarks, she is NOT a good leader of a disability body, many disabled peole in Wales hardly know such a body like Disability wales exists
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